Women's Sexual Arousal

Information for everyone who wants to know more about how to make sex better, understand their partner more fully and appreciate their sexual relationship to the full.


Women's Sexual Arousal

Most men respond to sexual stimulation pretty quickly, but getting aroused can be a much slower process for women. This website examines why, and describes how men can make sex better for their partners.

When a woman gets sexually excited, her journey from start to finish (if that's an orgasm) goes through four stages: arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Here we describe them, and later look at how getting to orgasm can be made easier.

Arousal or excitement

When a woman becomes sexually excited, blood flows into the pelvic area and, specifically, into the outer labia. As excitement builds, the labia gradually enlarge and fill with blood, and as they do so, they begin to part, revealing the entrance to the vagina.

Many men rarely see the beauty of the opening vulva, especially if they make love in dim surroundings or under the bedcovers. And many women may be reluctant to let their partner see their genitals close-up, finding it hard to believe that a man would find them attractive.

But as most men would confirm, the sight, scent, taste and appearance of the vulva and vagina is a very arousing thing to a man: indeed, it's a sight to be celebrated.

Blood also flows into the inner vaginal walls, making the vagina swell and engorge. Lubrication begins.

One of the most important differences between the two sexes' arousal processes is that a woman's excitement takes longer than a man's to reach its peak. How much longer?

It varies, but in general, men should assume it takes women ten to twenty times as long to get to the same level of arousal that they have reached, even when a woman initiates sex. Women always want men to go more slowly!

A man may have a full erection by the time he undresses for sex, but a woman's intimate areas may become ready for intercourse rather more slowly - particularly if she feels any reticence or ambivalence about making love.

One reason some women prefer older men as lovers is that their erections take longer to develop than a younger man's, meaning that the pace of lovemaking is more closely matched between the man and the woman.

You can see beautiful pictures of the clitoris, vulva and vagina, here, plus information on all you could ever need to know about the female genitalia! This site also includes sections on "learn to love your body" and female sexuality.

Some men believe that the moment their fingers feel the first drop of vaginal lubrication, their partner is ready for intercourse. For the vast majority of women, nothing could be further from the truth. Vaginal lubrication is only the first sign of a woman's arousal.

It means that she is gradually beginning to get interested in the idea of further sensual explorations. Sometimes, of course, a woman might lubricate during an erotic film or daydream or at the sight of a man who excites her, but "wet" does not necessarily mean "ready".

Most women need considerable time and lots of sensual touching to lubricate fully.

And indeed, the time that women take to become lubricated is an important reason why playful touch, massage, and other forms of sensual love play are so crucial to their sexual responsiveness.

Stress can inhibit vaginal lubrication and women's overall sexual responsiveness. The same anxieties that cause non-erection in men also interfere with lubrication in women - and for the same reason.

Stress triggers the fight or flight reflex that constricts blood vessels and redirects blood away from the genitals and out to the muscles.

A woman whose uncertainty about making love is causing her significant stress will be less swollen and lubricated than a woman who feels relaxed.

And pestering a woman about why she's taking so long to get juicy will have the same effect on her vagina that berating a man for non-erection would have on his penis.

Contraceptives might also interfere with vaginal lubrication. Some women report that birth control pills interfere with their ability to become lubricated.

And any birth control method - or lack of one - that distracts a woman from devoting undivided attention to making love might do the same. Tampons can also absorb some vaginal lubrication.

During the excitement phase, a woman's nipples may become firmer, more erect and darker in color. Nipple erection is about as common in women as it is in men. Some women's nipples become erect; some women's don't. At times, they become erect, then subside. And sometimes they become erect in nonsexual situations, for example, when they're cold.

As the excitement phase progresses in men, the scrotum pulls up closer to the body and the testicles become elevated. In women, the uterus, which usually occupies the back portion of the vagina, tips up and forward.

A man who inserts his penis deeply before the woman has become aroused may jam into the cervix, the mouth of the uterus, before it has tipped forward out of the way. This can be unpleasantly painful.

Plateau phase of sexual excitement

In women, the outer vaginal lips become fully engorged with blood, and the clitoris and the G spot become extremely sensitive to touch.

The clitoris is the site of the greatest nerve concentration and hence a great source of sexual pleasure. The clitorises of different women look and respond differently: in some women, the clitoris becomes noticeably erect and peeks out from under its clitoral hood; in other women, the clitoris may not protrude beyond the clitoral hood; sometimes, it peeks out for a while, then subsides, rather like male erections may come and go during lovemaking.

Men should treat the clitoris very gently. It contains as many nerve endings as the head of the penis, but it is much smaller and therefore much more sensitive.

Too much direct pressure can be painful and distracting, so unless a woman requests otherwise, it is not a good idea to fondle her clitoris until she is well lubricated.

Alternatively, artificial lube or saliva can be very pleasant in making gentle touches around the vulval lips and clitoris exacting in the earlier stages of sexual play.

Remember, this can be a loving part of foreplay! Even after the area around the clitoris has become lubricated, some women prefer indirect clitoral touching to any direct touch on the clitoris itself.

Close, slightly oblique stimulation can be applied by finger, tongue, or vibrator on either side of the clitoral shaft and on the clitoral hood.

Good communication - which means discussing what each member of the coupe want from lovemaking, and how they want to be touched - is essential to maximizing pleasure.

A woman's G spot is also a pleasure center. It is located on the front inner wall of the vagina behind the pubic bone. The G spot can produce extremely erotic and pleasurable sensations when pressed, rubbed, stroked or massaged.

A finger may be best for this - the penis usually only presses it firmly during rear entry sex (unless the man's cock has a noticeable upward curve to it, in which case he will be able to stimulate it during man on top sex in the missionary position).

Because rear entry sex is the one used by most mammals for reproduction, some people suggest the G spot evolved to make this position more pleasurable for the female.

Some women say they derive more pleasure from G spot stimulation than from clitoral caresses.

In many it needs to be awakened, but in all women it can be a route to intense sexual pleasure and orgasms that are distinctly different to clitoral orgasms.

A woman's most delightful sexual experience can be achieved through a combination of her man's fingers on her G spot and his tongue on her clitoris.

Women's orgasms

Women generally find it harder to reach orgasm than men. Although there are some women who can come quickly, they are the exception, not the rule; in fact, research shows that the average time for a woman to reach orgasm from a "standing start" is nineteen minutes.

In addition, many women find it hard to reach orgasm unless they feel an emotional connection with their partner. In other words, a woman's sexual responsiveness may be very dependent on the emotional context in which she is having sex.

Having said that, I once knew a woman who could orgasm freely and repeatedly with only a little stimulation. She told me that she really enjoyed sex, and had many lovers, and she could orgasm many times in a session of lovemaking, but she certainly didn't seem unfeminine in any way (she didn't have any signs of high testosterone, for example).

So does natural female sexuality imply the ability to orgasm quickly and repeatedly, or does it imply the longer responsiveness described above? We can get a clue from the progress of the woman towards orgasm after fifty.

Sex after 50 can be slower and more relaxed as both the man and the woman take longer to reach orgasm. In the man's case this is attributed to lower levels of testosterone, and in the woman to her lowered level of estrogen. HRT therapy will quickly restore sex drive and libido to both partners, but there is evidence that it works better for women when testosterone is included in the mix.

This implies that the slower progress towards orgasm for women in earlier life is due to innate biological differences from men.

It's an important question, because it might mean that female sexuality is suppressed in some way by society or by the way women are sexually brought up.

Generally speaking, women who are more at ease with their bodies, their femininity and their sexuality, find it much easier to reach orgasm than those who are uncomfortable with their sexuality.

The more comfortable a woman is with her deepest feminine self, the more fluid her sexual responsiveness will be, and the more easily she will reach orgasm. But even so, she will need to feel loved and respected to open up at her deepest sexual level and give all of her being to the man she's with.

And women who've experienced Tantric or other forms of sexual healing seem to develop greater sexual responsiveness and an ability to orgasm through G spot or vaginal stimulation (as well as through clitoral stimulation).

As a generality, then, a woman will be much more sexually responsive if she is wooed long before love play or sex begins.

Romance - the feeling of being loved and wanted - establishes a woman's sense of emotional security and switches on her sexual responsiveness. But even so, she will usually need lots of foreplay before she begins to feel sexually aroused.

Caressing, cuddling, sweet words whispered in her ear, gentle stroking, and so on, all stoke the fires of her passion.

This foreplay is essential unless she is feeling really horny and randy, most likely in her menstrual cycle around the time of ovulation in which case she may want a "quickie", just like her man!

When she begins to show signs of sexual desire, it may be time to move onto touching her breasts, clitoris and vulva. But men need to understand that touching a woman's clitoris in the way they would touch their own penis is not likely to produce an orgasm!

Her clitoris is incredibly sensitive at this stage of arousal and she will probably only want an indirect touch until she is approaching orgasm. And many women require the additional stimulation of the G spot to reach orgasm.


Clitoral or vaginal orgasm?

The great majority of women do not orgasm through sexual intercourse. They require clitoral stimulation to come.

Exactly how this happens depends on a couple's sexual preference: often the man will masturbate or lick his partner's clitoris and vulva until she orgasms, after which, according to reports from many couples, he will penetrate her and enjoy his orgasm inside her vagina.

This is a source of pleasure for her as well, of course, since she may desire penetration as much as he desires to penetrate her.

But it is possible for women to experience orgasm during intercourse. The first method is to use a variation of sexual intercourse which stimulates her clitoris as he thrusts. This is called the Coital Alignment Technique, and you can find a description of it here.

The second method is to awaken that sensitive area of tissue inside the vagina called the G-spot, which can lead to the wonderful experience of vaginal orgasm during penetrative sex.

A third possibility is for a woman to enjoy vaginal orgasm after she's had a clitoral orgasm from hand or mouth stimulation. Unlike most men, a woman may find she is still aroused after she's had her first orgasm; in fact, with each orgasm she has, she may become even more aroused.

At some point she may be so aroused that an orgasm is triggered by vaginal intercourse.

Any other methods of coming during vaginal sex depend on the ability of the woman or her partner to stimulate her clitoris during intercourse.

Woman on top sex makes this easier - the woman can move in a way that gets her the stimulation she needs. But in almost any position, if the man stops thrusting and begins moving his hips in a circular pattern, the two partners can grind their pubic areas together in a way that presses on her clitoris.

Another variation of sex which can be used to stimulate the woman's clitoris is for the man to move his penis up and down his partner's vulva, so that he can "tickle" her clitoris with his cock head.

When she begins to come, he can thrust into her vagina. This will intensify her orgasm and allow him to enjoy the contractions of her vagina around his penis as she is in the throws of her orgasm.


Did you come?

woman having an orgasm with Orgasm ArtsMen may wonder how they can tell if their partner has an orgasm. There are various clues (though intimate familiarity with your sexual partner is probably the best way of knowing). But in case you would like to know the signs:

  • Her breathing will get faster and faster as she approaches orgasm.
  • Her eyes become glazed and no longer focus.
  • Her muscles get tighter and tighter, including her facial muscles, so that just before she comes she may even look like she is in pain.
  • She may shout repeatedly: "I love you" or "Fuck me!" or "Oh God!" or something similar.
  • And as she comes she may well let out a scream, a cry or a shout.
  • Her toes may curl up, she may have a pinkish "sex rash" on her chest, and her nipples may become erect.
  • If you happen to have your finger in her vagina as she comes, you may notice that her vagina balloons out deep inside her and/or grips your finger tightly at the entrance.
  • Other possibilities include genital area muscle contractions, involuntary hip thrusts, a release of breath and tension as the orgasm subsides. Orgasmic muscle contractions can be felt by a finger placed at the mouth of the vagina, on the anus, or on the skin between the two.
  • Some women thrash around during orgasm, others are very quiet and passive.
  • Just before orgasm, the inner lips of the vulva, or labia minora, change color, becoming a deep red or wine color.
  • And her clitoris may swell and become intensely hard just before she comes (which, in case you are unaware of it, is exactly what happens to a man's penis just before he comes).

For men: None of these signs alone - or even together - is a guarantee she has made it to orgasm. You could always ask her, though many women resent the question.

Whatever you do, don't keep asking her if she's getting near, or if she's come yet, as you stimulate her clitoris or finger-fuck her! It's better to avoid asking if you can, and with a bit of experience you'll know when she has an orgasm. Asking a woman if she has climaxed during intercourse is a sign that you know little about what turns her on. In addition, the way the question is worded puts women on the spot.

Admitting "no orgasm" can be difficult, because some men indignantly assume that any woman who does not climax with sex with them must be unresponsive and hung up.

This is, of course, simply not true. You need to focus more on how you can give her pleasure before you put your penis in her vagina and less on her orgasm as a symbol of your sexual prowess.

She may well enjoy sex with you whether or not she comes, just because of the closeness and intimacy of the act.

Women's clitoral orgasms are identical to men's ejaculatory orgasms except that they usually do not result in ejaculation. In both men and women, these orgasms involve a series of quick rhythmic, wavelike muscle contractions throughout the pelvic region that last for a total of a few seconds.

The same muscles contract in both sexes, notably the pubococcygeus or PC muscle. In one study, where descriptions of orgasm were edited so the writer's sex could not be determined, a group of men and women could not distinguish women's descriptions of orgasm from men's.

What happens during orgasm?

As a woman begins to come, she feels powerful contractions in the outer third of her vagina. These throbbing contractions happen every 0.8 seconds - exactly the same interval as the spurting contractions of a man's ejaculation.

But these are not the throbs or contractions which a man may feel if his penis is inside a woman during her orgasm: what he feels is the contraction of the pelvic muscles which surround the upper part of her vagina. However, this is splitting hairs - to a man, having his penis inside a woman as she comes may be the nearest thing to heaven on earth.

It is almost inevitable that if he has not come yet, this will set him off, and the couple will experience a simultaneous orgasm.

In the early stages of intercourse, a woman's uterus (or womb) begins to lift upwards off her vagina so as to make more room for the penis.

As she experiences orgasm, her uterus contracts rhythmically along with all her other pelvic muscles: these contractions contribute a large part of the pleasure she feels during orgasm. There are other changes in the vagina too, but to understand these, it's necessary to talk a bit about vaginal and clitoral orgasms.

There's plenty of evidence that a distinct area of tissue on the upper wall of the vagina called the G spot is a sexual nerve center served by a different set of nerves to those in the clitoris. What's more, the G spot provides very different sensations during sexual stimulation to those produced by the clitoris.

In practice, what all this means is that at least two different orgasmic experiences are open to women during sex: the clitoral orgasm and the G spot orgasm. With simultaneous clitoral and vaginal stimulation, even more orgasmic possibilities open up.

The G spot isn't automatically responsive in the way that the clitoris usually is. The sexual sensitivity of the G spot is blocked by any negative sexual experiences or emotional trauma, and making it blossom may need fairly intense stimulation.

But once it is functioning, a woman will recognize that she is in the middle of a different kind of orgasm: something more about energy flow, about whole body orgasm rather than genital centered orgasm. And for her partner, there will be some obvious differences too.

For one thing, the behavior of the vaginal muscles is different in these two orgasms.

The easiest way for a man to experience this difference is to bring his partner to orgasm first with a finger inside her, stroking her G spot, and then to compare this with an orgasm from clitoral stimulation.

As a woman approaches a G spot orgasm, her vagina may almost appear to expel her lover's finger; with a clitoral orgasm the outer reaches of her vagina grip his finger tightly.

What does all this mean? In some ways, the differences are unimportant. What matters is the experience of orgasm and the knowledge that a woman can call upon her lover to help her reach whatever form of orgasm she desires: often a blended orgasm with both G spot and clitoral stimulation will be the most intense and satisfying. But if your sexual experience doesn't fit these descriptions it's not a matter of any concern!


Issues for men around orgasm

Although we often think of women as being the sex which has most difficulty reaching orgasm, men with delayed ejaculation may well see it differently!

About the same number of men have delayed ejaculation as women have anorgasmia - a truly shocking fact, since so little attention is paid to this issue for men. Fortunately, there is plenty of good information available on the internet.

The same might not be said about premature ejaculation, where there is certainly plenty of information, but where the quality of the information on offer is sadly rather low. One exception to this rule is the work of the sex therapist Rod Phillips, which you can find in two online blogs.


Ways for a woman reach orgasm

It's a shame that even in these liberated days of the new millennium, many women have never had an orgasm and many find it hard to have one.

According to one recent survey, 68% of women cannot climax whenever they want to, 54% worry that they take too long, and up to 15% have never had an orgasm. Considering that men can come at the drop of a hat, this is a real difference between the sexes, and one which both men and women need to understand more fully.

This problem of how to reach orgasm, the sheer inability to have an orgasm, is an enduring one, which affects many women - we don't know how many women are pre-orgasmic, but estimates range from 10% to 30%, depending on which population you look at.

Anorgasmia is the inability to reach orgasm in any circumstances - but there are many variations on the theme, including difficulty in reaching orgasm and only being able to attain orgasm from time to time.

A woman who is in this situation may feel her self-esteem is low, may have sexual issues such as lack of sexual desire, and generally needs to be assisted to explore her sexuality fully so that she can become fully orgasmic.

Of course sex is full of issues and problems for people in general and women in particular; in our society, women often face challenging experiences such as sexual abuse or oppression of their sexuality as they grow up - and this can inhibit the flowering of their sexual experience and knowledge.

This can be clearly seen here in this account of orgasmic differences between men and women.

Add the fact that so many women are so unhappy with their bodies in general, or their periods or genitals in particular, especially their smell and appearance, and you can begin to understand why so many women find orgasm so elusive.

The final aspect of their challenge is that men often don't appreciate how slowly women become sexually aroused, at least by comparison with their male partners.

Men often expect women to be as ready for sex as they are, and may be unwilling to work at bringing their lovers to a peak of sexual arousal and helping them to enjoy their orgasm.

On top of all that, a woman's genitals are tucked away: at least her clitoris is, and her vagina isn't immediately available for inspection in the way that a man's penis is.

And the vast majority of women (94%) are told nothing about orgasms, or how to have one, in sex education lessons, either at school or at home.

But even for women who are happy with their sexuality, orgasm can be an elusive and unpredictable thing.

What worked yesterday can fail today; what seemed appealing last time a woman reached orgasm may have no impact on her the next: so pity her poor partner, who repeats what seemed like a sure fire way of getting her to a screaming orgasm, only to be told off by his mate for doing something she doesn't like!

But there are things that help in this process, you'll be glad to know. The first is understanding how men and women differ in their approach to orgasm.

How men and women differ in their approach to orgasm

Men want a lot of orgasms, fairly constantly. They often decide they need a certain number of orgasms each week, and may sometimes behave rather demandingly or childishly if they don't get them.

If a woman doesn't want to have sex, communicating this to her partner and reassuring him that he's in no danger of being refused sex for ever is important to keep him happy.

But equally, there's no excuse for a woman refusing sex as a means to exert power in a relationship. Communication, not manipulating your partner by withholding sex, is the key to equality in a relationship.

What next? Well, men are programmed, as most women will have worked out for themselves, to try and have their orgasms while their penis is inside a woman, preferably without a condom.

It's a very basic biological urge, and for a man it represents the highest degree of sexual pleasure possible. Although, of course, without a partner he'll always be happy to masturbate!

Oral sex may come a close second to vaginal intercourse, but once again, the imperative for a man is to ejaculate inside a woman. His instinctive biological urge is not refined enough to discriminate between ejaculating inside a woman's vagina and inside her mouth!

If there is a comparatively urgent need in women, it's a need for love, touching, appreciation, respect and closeness.

And while women want orgasms, they certainly prefer to have them with men to whom they have an emotional attachment. It is true to say that women want orgasms with the man they love, while men love to have orgasms with the woman they are with.

But what this trite saying doesn't acknowledge is that fact that men come to experience love through the force of their sexual and orgasmic energy. Sex puts a man in touch with his loving feelings: men need sex to feel love, while women need love to feel sexy. Ok, that's a generalization. But generalizations can be helpful.

How to (help a woman) reach orgasm easily

Some of these suggestions about how to reach orgasm are for men; some for couples; others work for a woman on her own.

Men:

Make love to her outside the bedroom! Pay attention to her desire to be romanced and loved and wooed as a beautiful woman. Think of the little things that will make her feel special and show her that you care about her.

These really will turn her heart on to you: and a woman who has warm feelings for you in her heart will soon have warm feelings for you in her genitals.

Whatever you do, don't compare her in any way whatsoever with previous lovers, even if she tries to get you to do so ("What was W like when she came?" "Am I better looking than X?" "What size were Y's breasts?").

Just tell your lover how much you like her breasts, bottom, vagina, clitoris, thighs, hair, lips, face, personality, or whatever it is that you adore about her. That's what will give her more confidence and permission to enjoy her body - and thereby yours - sexually. And don't forget to tell her that you love her - if that's true.

Be patient. Allow her at least ten or twenty times the length of foreplay you would need to get turned on and ready for sex.

According to a poll among New York women, foreplay should go on for at least thirty minutes. In one survey in Scotland, women said they wanted at least an hour's foreplay before sexual contact.

Give her your attention lovingly and freely. Don't do it grudgingly. There's no need to resent lengthy foreplay, anyway, since it can be a great turn on for you. Kissing is a very romantic and loving act for most women, so become an expert kisser (remember to kiss her a lot outside of the bedroom as well!).

If you like the sight and scent of her vulva and vagina, give her extended oral sex before intercourse, telling her how much you love doing that for her.

She may not understand that nearly all well-adjusted, sexually balanced, heterosexual men simply adore having their face in a woman's genitals! Learn how to massage her body, slowly, lovingly and sensuously.

Let her come before you do. This is incredibly successful in helping a woman enjoy sex more. If you focus on her arousal - and orgasm - before your own, she will be warm, willing, wet, and much more desirous of having your penis in her vagina when you come to penetration.

And what may surprise you is that a delay between getting aroused and coming will make your own orgasm much more powerful as well!

Learn about her cycle. Many women have days in their cycle when they are gasping for sex, and other times when they just aren't interested. Learn about her sexy days - ask her about them if you want - and you are much more likely to reach an agreeable sexual schedule.

Realize that what worked yesterday may not work today. Men find this very hard to understand; it just isn't the way we work. Men tend to find something that works and stick to it.

It's hard to understand why a woman who came when you used a certain technique last week doesn't want you to use it today, or even finds it irritating.

And what works for her in the early stages of her arousal may be different to what she wants later on as she nears orgasm. There's more information on specific techniques lower down this page.

According to a sizeable minority of women, their best orgasms are when their partner's penis is inside them. For a woman like this, even if she needs clitoral stimulation to get to orgasm, the feeling of union and connection that comes from you being deep inside her gives her the greatest satisfaction.

So watch out for this - it may mean that your partner wants you inside her even if she hasn't been able to reach orgasm - anorgasmia - or that she wants to come first and then enjoy feeling you inside her, perhaps with another orgasm, or that she wants to come while you are in her (in which case one of you may have to find a way of reaching her clitoris while you thrust).

Experiment with gentle thrusting or even remaining still with your erect cock inside her as she masturbates or uses a vibrator. Or try using two fingers to stimulate her as you lick or finger her clitoris. This will work very well if she enjoys a feeling of fullness in her lower vagina (see below).

Bear in mind that you can only help a woman reach orgasm, you can't dish them out! It's important to remember, of course, that no-one "gives" anyone an orgasm !

woman having an orgasm man giving a woman an orgasm

Women:

Set the mood correctly. Make sure you have time and place to be undisturbed, or, if you want a quickie, or you're trying sex in the open air, that everything is how you like it. Get away from the kids or hire a babysitter if necessary so that you can get time alone.

Remember, time and place aren't as significant to him as they are to you, so you may need to set the scene (unless he's an incurable romantic). If your man isn't into bubble baths, candles and oils, silks and subdued lighting, you may have some education to do!

Communicate directly what you want. Men are not good at playing guessing games or deciphering clues. Unfortunately women, who tend to be very intuitive, think men are, or should be, or that they will learn to be, if given time.

The truth is he won't know what's going on if you leave him clues and then get upset when he doesn't understand what you want. You have to say what you want from a man. That's how it is! Please don't misunderstand this: it's great that men and women are different.

But sometimes we have to accept those differences instead of wishing our partner was just like us. Remember that if a man was like a woman, you'd probably miss the things than make him male.

Equally, communicate what you don't want. It's no use assuming he's going to pick up your signals that you don't want sex, and then feeling affronted when he still initiates things. You need to say how you're feeling, and why, and when you will want sex, and maybe what you can do instead for him.

Play with yourself. Although many women enjoy masturbating, surveys show that only 70% or so masturbate to orgasm regularly. (It may surprise you to know that nearly all men masturbate regularly, including those who are in a relationship.

This may include your partner, even if you don't think he masturbates.) A lot of women think masturbation is bad - often as a result of a strict upbringing. Well, masturbation is definitely very good for you!

And what's more, it can help you learn more about your body, more about what you like to do to reach orgasm, and more about what will make you come.

This in turn will help you to reach orgasm during sex with your partner. In short, self-exploration is a healthy, enjoyable and perfectly natural function of your body. And masturbating in front of your partner, if and when you're ready to do that, is likely to be an incredible turn-on for him.

Buy a vibrator. If you've never tried a vibrator, get online and buy one on the internet. You can have it delivered discreetly to your house through the mail, and no-one need ever know about it. You may find it a revolutionary experience.

Set aside enough time to enjoy experimenting in a warm room where you feel relaxed and comfortable and you won't be disturbed.

Try both clitoral and vaginal stimulation. You may need clitoral stimulation to actually come, but you may find you're able to experience some very different sensations with G spot stimulation. And you may find that the best orgasms of all are a result of combined G spot and clitoral stimulation. You can read more about this further down the page.

Exercise your PC muscle. The pubococcygeus, or PC, muscle plays a role in orgasm. It's the one you tighten up when you stop yourself passing urine or faeces. Exercises to tone up this muscle are taught to women after childbirth, but a toned PC muscle is also important in enjoying good orgasms.

The muscle contracts at orgasm and contributes a large part of the pleasurable feelings from the pulsations of your pelvic region. You can tone up your PC by tightening it up and releasing it twenty times a day, morning and evening.

You can do this in two parts, first tightening up the front part by pretending you are holding back your urine flow, and then tightening up the back part as though you're holding back a bowel movement.

Fantasize. The right fantasy can help you reach orgasm, no matter how shocking or sexy it may seem. Remember, fantasy doesn't hurt anyone!

However, if your fantasy involves some famous Hollywood star making love to you, it might be best not to share it with your partner (if he happens to be the one actually making love to you at the time, that is!)

Masturbate and play with yourself during sex. Just do it! If your partner seems offended that his efforts alone don't get you to orgasm, just tell him you need a little extra help to get there.

Masturbation can play a large part in your sex life, with or without your partner; perhaps if you're still aroused, you can masturbate to orgasm during a session of lovemaking as he rests after his orgasm. This may arouse him again, so perhaps you can then enjoy a second bout of intercourse. Or whatever!

Allow your multiple orgasms to flow. Having multiple orgasms isn't actually that unusual! Research shows that over 60% of women are multiply orgasmic at least some of the time.

A woman's arousal declines slowly after orgasm, so the best time for her to enjoy another orgasm is soon after the last one. Ask your man to pleasure you - or if he's asleep, do it yourself with your fingers on your clitoris, and perhaps one or two fingers inside your vagina.

Enjoy making love in positions which give you control over your arousal and orgasm. The CAT and woman on top sex positions are best for this.

Couples:

Lots of women say that their best orgasms are achieved when their partner is stimulating them both clitoral and vaginally. There are many ways you can do this, but here's one that we have found to be very successful.

First, the man uses the pad of his fingertips (or his thumb and fingers) to gently massage all over the woman's vulva. Try to move your fingers in a smooth, sweeping motion up and down her labia, her vaginal opening and the sides of her vulva, while initially avoiding her clitoris.

Plenty of lubricant is necessary - saliva is best, so a little oral sex play can be mixed in with this finger play.

Having your head down there, as if you were going to give her oral sex, makes it easier to transfer saliva from your mouth to her vulva. Gentle and soft touches are likely to be most exciting for her; however, as every woman is different, a certain amount of feedback from her to you is helpful in guiding your progress.

Feedback needs to be delivered in a positive way, so comments like these are forbidden: "What are you doing?" "Will you stop that!" "No, you're not doing it right!" Instead, say things like, "Mmm, that feels good, but can you just move a little more slowly/gently/up-and-down/side to side/harder?" and so on.

Questions from the man that require only one word answers are good, as they keep his partner from going into her head and thinking, which may slow down or stop her progress towards orgasm. For example: "More?" "Faster?" "Harder?"

As she begins to get more aroused, you might want to move closer to her clitoris, rubbing along its sides, or perhaps sliding your fingertip underneath it in an upwards stroke that begins at her vaginal opening. In the mid-range of her sexual arousal, fairly regular, repetitive movements are likely to be the most exciting for her.

You might try, for example, moving your fingers in a circle over her clitoris or round her labia and over the top of her clitoris.

At some point she will begin to show signs of increasing arousal, such as moving her hips up to meet the pressure of your hand on her vulva.

At this point you can increase the pressure and perhaps the speed of your movements a little, though it is important to remember that women often don't want you to speed up when they begin to get excited.

So if she moans with pleasure, don't assume you should go faster! Continuous, rhythmic, and consistent stimulation is best until she's near her orgasm.

Think of this: if you, as a man, are masturbating, you will very likely move your hand harder and faster over your penis the more excited you get. For a woman, this increase in speed may not be desirable until she's very near her orgasm.

So, to reiterate, if she starts moaning with pleasure don't necessarily assume that she wants you to go harder and faster with your fingers. She may just want a little extra pressure but the same speed of movements.

As she gets more excited, she will begin to lubricate. When this happens, and you sense she's getting fairly aroused, you can insert a finger or two into her vagina.

There are three regions to focus on: the first is the vaginal opening itself, and the area around it on her vulva, including the opening to her urethra.

Many women find it very sexy and exciting to have a moist fingertip exploring these areas, teasing with a hint of penetration, then maybe withdrawing and then going back to press a little further into her. Your thumb is particularly good for this.

(By the way, you're still playing with her clitoris and vulva with your other hand all the time you're "fingering" her vagina! It takes a little practice to become adept at this, but it isn't too hard.)

The second area to concentrate on is the lower part of her vagina itself. This is very sensitive to penetration, as you might expect.

Many women find a sense of fullness just inside their vagina to be exquisitely exciting. They will tell you that it isn't the length of a penis that is important but its width, since it stretches this sensitive area as their partner's penis penetrates them and moves inside.

You can recreate this excitement for a woman by gently sliding two fingers, side by side, into her. You will stretch this part of her vagina and most likely give her some delightful sensations. Just make sure your fingernails are trimmed and clean!

Some women like to be "finger fucked" at this point, especially if they are about to come. You can use one or two fingers to do this.

The excitement is partly because finger fucking mimics penetration, partly because it stimulates the G spot.

And the G spot is actually the third area which needs attention in this combined vaginal/clitoral stimulation technique.

If a woman is already aroused she will probably respond to this combined touch on her clitoris, vulva and inside her vagina with a quick and dramatic increase in her arousal and excitement.

At this point, it is possible to apply more direct pressure to her clitoris, either inside its hood or with its glans exposed. This in turn will probably bring her rapidly towards orgasm.

A combination of slightly faster movements of your finger on or over her clitoris and finger movements on or over her G spot are likely to be the fastest and best route to orgasm.

With combined stimulation like this, her orgasm may be noisy and she may thrash around a lot; and if you have been massaging her G spot for some time there may be a little spurt of female ejaculate as she comes.

Something important to note is that many women find their clitoris to be too sensitive to bear any touch after they have come, just as the glans of your penis may be too sensitive.

If your partner tells you to stop, then stop! On the other hand, continued stimulation can sometimes take her to another orgasmic peak....it all depends on the woman concerned, and how her sexuality is manifesting that day.

Not only are all women different in how they enjoy sex, but each woman is different from day to day!

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